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Robert Kirsch-Spring2021-09-30T10:01:29-04:00

Project Description

B.Ed. Music (York U)
B.A. (University of Guelph)

Rob is a drummer and composer, specializing in jazz, free music, R&B, funk and folk music. He has composed for and recorded with the likes of Bolete, Emily & the Mainlanders, Vulpis Vulpis, Sam Keshen and the Vybe Tribe. He is currently completing York University’s Bachelor of Education program, after which he will be a certified high school music teacher.

Rob’s approach to teaching uses the interests of his students as media for learning musical concepts and techniques. Together, he and his students extract lessons from a list of songs and genres that the student puts together. Rob develops his students’ “ear” for aural learning as well as their ability learn from written notation. Composition and improvisation are ongoing focuses of his teaching.

Get to know a TEACHER…Beyond the Bio!

Hobbies: exercising, reading

Musical influences: ?Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, River Tiber, Miles Davis, John Mayer, D’Angelo

Favourite food: ?Chinese

Least favourite food: ?Sardines!

Favourite music: ?R&B

Favourite song: ?Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

Favourite movie: ? Zoolander

Favourite movie music: The Garden State soundtrack is top notch.

Favourite musical theatre/opera: I have yet to find one I like!

Best quote from your teacher: “Thinking is for practicing, not performing.”

Favourite quote: ?”Only the Sith deal in absolutes.” – Obi Wan

Favourite book: ?The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

Latest Homework from Robert

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August 24 – 31

Jonathan

Goal: Play all the gospel beats with confidence. You can click on each beat to hear it played by Larnell Lewis:

Southern Gospel, Waltz, Funk Shuffle, Shout, Ballad, Caribbean-American, Contemporary

Will

Please update Zoom on your phone so you can access the “Use Original Sound” function. This will allow me to hear your drums much more clearly. Once updated, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom mobile app.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Meetings.
  4. Tap the toggle to enable Use Original Sound.

Goal: Feel comfortable improvising (making up on the spot) the hand part only in this fill. Then, play 3 bars of a drum beat of your choosing followed by 1 bar of fill (just like in our lesson).

Aidan

Goal: Feel comfortable playing Transition (option #1). Feel comfortable playing the chorus cymbal part only (with metronome at 110, cut-time feel). Start slow with the chorus bit and work your way up to speed.

August 17-24

Hi! Sorry this is so late.

Will

Practise these fills one at a time. You can hear how they sound in this video. Loop the fill (by itself) over and over again until you feel confident playing it. Then play three bars of any drum beat you’d like followed by one bar of the fill. Again, that’s three bars of a random drum beat, one bar of the fill. Loop this pattern until you feel confident playing it. Do this for each fill on the sheet (or as many as you’d like).

Jonathan

Same as last week: keep chipping away at the gospel drum beats. I recommend starting with the beats we didn’t cover in our lesson (#4-7) before reviewing the others. Other than the Waltz, try playing them along to some songs you like.

April

Clap/drum just the rhythm (ignore the pitches) to this song and try to figure out which famous nursery rhyme it is.

August 10 – 17

Aidan

Here‘s the sheet music for Spanish Joint. Learn as much or as little as you’d like. Try playing along to as much of the recording as you can.

I haven’t notated every part of the song because a lot of it is heavily improvised (e.g., at the end of choruses). We can learn how to improvise in these sections in a future lesson.

You’ll notice that for the chorus beat, the ride cymbal isn’t playing every eighth note. After giving the song another listen, I realized that Questlove is largely improvising his ride pattern. The ride pattern I’ve included in the sheet music compliments the bass drum and snare drum parts nicely, and it doesn’t require you to build hand speed beforehand to play it.

August 3 – 10

Will

Hey Will. We talked about doing a lot of things today but I think it would be good to focus on just one for practising this week. This sheet contains drum patterns that require you to play single strokes on the hi-hat (mostly). Practising single strokes with a metronome will make you a faster drummer and get you closer to being able to play those fast fills we were talking about. Practise as many of the patterns as you’d like, but at the very least, work on the first one. Set your metronome to a slow tempo (ex. 40 bpm) and once you can play the pattern a few times in a row without making a mistake, increase the speed by 5 or 10 bpm (beats per minute). Repeat this process until you can play it really fast (ex. 140 bpm).

Jonathan

Learn as many of these gospel beats as you’d like. Here is a video where you can hear an explanation and demonstration of each one. Performed by Toronto’s own Larnell Lewis.

April

Scattered throughout this page are some good 16th-note exercises with audio examples. If you feel up to it, count 16th notes out loud while you clap/play the written ones.

July 27 – August 3

Jonathan

  • Full-kit paradiddles (#1-6). If you want, you can practise each pattern like this:
    • Play along to a metronome at a slow tempo (ex. 50 bpm).
    • Once you feel comfortable with the tempo, increase it (ex. raise it 10 bpm).
    • Keep doing this until you get to a fast tempo (ex. 150 bpm).
  • By coincidence, this video popped up on my YouTube! It attempts to explain why many black gospel musicians are so skilled. The ending bit focuses on drummers in particular. Check it out if you’re interested.

Will

  • Verse’s main beat (bar 3) and chorus’s main beat (bar 5). If you want, you can practise them like this:
    • Play the verse’s main beat with a metronome at a slow tempo (ex. 40 bpm).
    • Once you feel comfortable with the tempo, increase it (ex. raise it 5 bpm).
    • Keep doing this until you get to the tempo of the recording (92 bpm).
    • Play through the entire recording using only the verse’s main beat OR only play during the verses and drop out for the choruses.
    • Repeat the whole process with the chorus’s main beat.
  • “Say-and-play”: Improvise (make up on the spot) a solo while saying what you’re playing using gibberish words/sounds. If you want, you can practise it like this: start by only using one drum, then do it with two drums, three drums, etc.

April

  • Clap/play this and this. If you want, you can practise each rhythm like this:
    • Play all the rhythms with a metronome at a slow tempo (ex. 50 bpm).
    • Once you’ve played all the rhythms and feel comfortable with the tempo, increase it (ex. raise it 10 bpm).
    • Keep doing this until you get to a fast tempo (ex. 125 bpm).

Aidan

  • Learn D’Angelo’s Spanish Joint (or at least the main/verse beat) with this annoyingly 14-part tutorial. The instructor tends to play something in one video and explain it in the next.
  • If you want, check out the whole D’Angelo album, Voodoo. It’s a very, very important album insofar as it influenced many prominent musicians today in the world of black music (R&B, hip-hop, soul, funk, jazz fusion, gospel, etc.).

JULY 14-20, 2021

JONATHAN

AUX cable

Cissy Strut sheet music

Cissy Strut recording

Practise the first bar (that has drums…)

WILL

Cissy Strut sheet music

Cissy Strut recording

Practise the third bar on the first line and the second bar on the second line.

AIDAN

Cissy Strut sheet music

Cissy Strut recording

Practise the third bar on the first line and the second bar on the second line.

APRIL

Work your way through these rhythms however you’d like (drum, clapping, tap dancing, etc.). Count out loud as you play. Once you’ve got ’em, challenge yourself by playing with a metronome (each click = 1 beat). You can challenge yourself further by making the metronome faster and faster.

 

September 20-25

Ezra

Play triplets on the snare drum or floor tom (you choose), alternating your hands (left, right, left right, etc.). Count “1-trip-let, 2-trip-let, 3-trip-let” out loud as you play. Play along to a metronome at 50 bpm and try to get it up to 70 bpm. If you don’t have a metronome, you can use this online one.

Elora

Make sure you know which 5 songs you want to learn to play. We’ll be discussing them on Wednesday.

For lessons tomorrow

Hey Ezra and Elora,

I already told Ezra this, but I would like both of you to come to your lesson tomorrow with at least 5 songs that you would like to learn to play (or that you just enjoy). The level of difficulty doesn’t matter; I can teach you easier versions of the drum parts that still sound good when you play them along to the song.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Rob

JUNE 8-13 HOMEWORK

Hi everyone. Please print this new practice log for the coming weeks. Bring it to every lesson and don’t forget to have a parent/guardian sign off on each day, even if you didn’t practice. Thanks!   -Rob

Ezra

Basic Beats + fills

  • Before you start playing, listen to the song for a bit and try to identify when the snare drum is playing. This will tell you where beats “2” and “4” are.
  • Count 8th notes out loud
  • Using the “Basic Beats” patterns, play 2 bars of the pattern followed by 2 bars of filling. I want you to improvise the fills (make them up on the spot)
  • Play along to What I Like by Bruno Mars
  • Remember to focus more on listening to the recording than your own playing. This will keep you in time.

Counting Craziness

  • Exercises 1-4
  • Repeat and add bass drum
  • Play along to a metronome at quarter notes = 60 bpm. Increase the tempo by 5 bpm increments until you can play it at 80 bpm

Elora

“Counting Craziness” worksheet

  • Play along to a metronome where 8th notes = 120 bpm. Increase the tempo by 5 bpm increments until you can play it at 140 bpm

Basic Beats

  • Count one bar of 8th notes before you start playing and continue as you play.
  • Play along to a metronome where 8th notes = 150 bpm. You can try going even faster but it’s up to you.

Isobel

Remember to plug your headphones into the drum mat. Have a speaker/computer/tablet/etc. next to you to play the song out of.

Dynamite

  • Play along to Dynamite by Taio Cruz.
  • Here are the patterns written out. Pattern 1 is played during the verses and choruses, and pattern 2 is played during the “bridge” (2 minutes into the linked video). The bridge finishes at the 3-minute mark, which is when you should go back to playing pattern 1.

Ewan

To properly use your drum mat, you need to sit on a chair where your feet touch the floor. Put your drum mat on a second chair in front of you. Because it’s difficult to hear the bass drum when it’s coming out of the drum mat’s built-in speaker, you should use headphones. They make the bass drum sound louder. Plug your headphones into the back of the speaker where it says “headphones”. Have a speaker/computer/tablet/etc. next to you to play the song out of.

Dynamite

  • Play along to Dynamite by Taio Cruz.
  • Here are the patterns written out. Pattern 1 is played during the verses and choruses, and pattern 2 is played during the “bridge” (2 minutes into the linked video). The bridge finishes at the 3-minute mark, which is when you should go back to playing pattern 1.

 

JUNE 1 – 6 HOMEWORK

Ezra

Same homework as last week.

Elora

Same homework as last week.

Ewan and Isobel

Please bring your drum mat and its accessories to our lesson.

FOR ISOBEL AND EWAN ONLY

Please bring your drum mat to your lessons. Thank you.

MAY 25-30 HOMEWORK

Ezra

Best Song Ever pattern #9

  • Count 8th notes out loud.
  • Practice with a metronome. The clicks are quarter notes. Start at 45 bpm. Once you have played through all the patterns, do it again but with the metronome at 50 bpm. Then at 55, etc., until you get to 80. Don’t go faster than that.
  • Count one bar of 8th notes before you start playing the pattern.

Basic Beats + fills

  • Using the “Basic Beats” patterns, play 2 bars of the pattern followed by 2 bars of filling. I want you to improvise the fills (make them up on the spot). We did something similar in our lesson a few weeks ago. To keep your fills simple, you can start by playing quarter notes around the drums set. Then, try using a combination of quarter notes and rests. Then, try adding in 8th notes. Experiment.
  • Play along to What I Like by Bruno Mars.

Elora

Basic Beats

  • Count 8th notes out loud as you play (1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and).
  • Play along to a metronome at 90 bpm. Each click equals an 8th note.
  • Once you have played through all the patterns, play them again but with the metronome at 100 bpm. Then at 110, etc., until you get to 140. You can try going even faster but it’s up to you.
  • Count one bar of 8th notes before you start playing the patterns.

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